Africa Newsafrol News22 April 2021
Moroccan youths in Dakhla had set fire on Sahrawi properties
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- Several hundred Sahrawi protesters yesterday gathered in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara city of Dakhla, but were met by Moroccan youths, engaging them in clashes all night.
According to pro-Sahrawi sources, "the situation in Dakhla is aggravating," following clashes on Friday and Saturday. The indigenous Sahrawi population reportedly clashed with civilian Moroccans, who have settled Dakhla in masses since the 1976 Moroccan occupation and now totally dominating economic and political life in the city.
The unrest, according to the same sources, started on Friday, as a gathering of Sahrawis was attacked by Moroccan youths armed with sticks. The sources maintain that houses, shops and other property of Sahrawi families in Dakhla were attacked and looted by these Moroccans.
On Saturday, several hundred Sahrawis - up to 600 according to one source - gathered in central Dakhla to protest against the attacks on their homes and properties and the reluctance of Moroccan police forces, which allegedly had watched the looting without trying to stop it.
The protesting Sahrawis yesterday again were attacked by "a group of 300 to 400 youths," now with armed police watching the attack without intervening, several sources in Dakhla have reported to afrol News.
The attacking youths yesterday were armed with sticks and stones, attacking Sahrawi civilians. Sources in Dakhla speak of "at least 100 persons injured" during the attack.
Again, Sahrawi sources said, neighbourhoods dominated by Sahrawis were attacked and looted, with the Moroccan youths entering private homes and setting several cars on fire. The clashes betwee
Sahrawis on Saturday gathered in central Dakhla to protest the violence against them
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n Moroccans and Sahrawis went on all night without any police interference, the same reports say.
Today, Sunday, there are however reports of Moroccan riot police controlling the streets of central Dakhla, trying to prevent Sahrawi residents from staging new protests. However, Sahrawi neighbourhoods in Dakhla remain mostly unprotected and residents fear new attacks during the day.
The cities of Western Sahara, where the vast majority of the Sahrawi population strongly opposed the Moroccan occupation, have been remarkably calm during the last weeks, as youths and civil society in Morocco-proper have embarked on a wave of pro-democracy protests. It is widely believed that the Sahrawis do not want divert attention from these protests in Morocco by creating unrest in Western Sahara.
There have been contradicting news about Moroccan troop movements in Western Sahara. Several sources two weeks ago said Moroccan troops were moved out off the territory to prepare for the announced protests in Morocco-proper. This week, local sources claim that large army contingents again are moved into occupied Western Sahara.
Dakhla is the second largest city in occupied Western Sahara. The territory's capital, El Aaiun, has been calm since the protests in Morocco-proper started. There are also no reports of unrest in the major Sahrawi town of Bojador and S'mara, further indicating that the Dakhla unrest is not part of any planned Sahrawi protest movement.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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